Exploring the Market Dynamics and Economic Implications of Regional Food Start-Ups and their Supporting Food Business Ecosystem
About the Project
Shared kitchens are a relatively recent business development strategy that communities have adopted to enable diverse local food businesses to produce, store, and sell their products through a wide range of channels. In essence, this emerging sector of the food system provides a valuable resource to communities who seek to address potential barriers to business development, including access to facilities and capital.
In more official terms, shared kitchens are defined as “licensed commercial spaces that provide a pathway for food entrepreneurs—ranging from chefs, caterers, food truck operators, and bakers, to value-added producers and packaged food and beverage makers—to launch and grow their businesses.
Shared kitchens are a relatively young and dynamic sector. A 2019 survey of 180 food business owners operating out of shared kitchens found that 50% of kitchen respondents were established within the last five years, and another 28% were established within the last 5-9 years. Over half of the kitchens surveyed responded that their primary goal for using shared kitchens was “assisting early-growth businesses.
Yet, given the relatively recent emergence and growth of the shared kitchen sector, little more is known about the types of operators using these facilities and the dynamics of their business growth. Starting in 2021, a collaboration of USDA Ag Marketing Service, Colorado State University and the Food Corridor compiled information we learned about the shared kitchens and the food business owners operating out of shared kitchens into a variety of fact sheets and case studies, share below, as a means to understand the role of shared kitchens in communities across the US.